questions & answers: itinerary check

itinerary

Itinerary

My Itineary is as below
Want to get some feedback on which Japan Rail Pass to get.
Kansai-Hironshima Area Pass

Osaka 14-15 August
Nara 15-17 August
Kyoto 17-21 August
Takayama 21-23 August
Himeji 23-25 August
Hiroshima 25-27 August
Nara 27-28 August

houming
houming

Hi,

Due to the length and pacing of your trip, you basically have 2 choices if you'd like to get a rail pass and make it pay off with the most savings.

Your first choice is to modify your itinerary a bit, and use a 7 day rail pass between Aug 21-26. This would yield you the most savings. But you'd need to return from Hiroshima a day earlier. You could cut a day off of Himeji, and basically it just takes about one full day to see the best of the place anyways.

Your second choice would be to get a 14 day rail pass and extend your itinerary enough to make it pay off. This would not be hard to do and there is no shortage of good places to see in the area. You also have Nara listed twice in your itinerary which doesn't seem to make sense - the time could be reallocated to something better. The easiest would be add somewhere like Iwakuni with its historical bridge and mountaintop castle - it's just a stone's throw beyond Miyajima. Deeper into Yamaguchi is the Akiyoshi Limestone Cave, a 300 million year old wonder with huge caverns and underground river running through it. You could also take some time and go see Kanazawa - it is worth at least a day and a night, and has Kenrokuen, which is widely regarded as Japan's finest traditional landscape garden.
The Konpirasan Shrine in Kotohira, Kagawa on Shikoku is one of the best half day hikes you will ever take in your life. Going to Takamatsu is also nice - it has one of Japan's finest gardens also, called Ritsurin, plus castle ruins and two lovely islands just off the coast you can visit.

Anyway, lots for you to consider. If you have other questions, feel free to ask.

Best of luck.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Actually it occurs to me you could use the 7 day pass between Aug 21-27 - but IMHO it would still help to modify your itinerary.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Between 14-21 August, is it advisable to get hankyu tourist pass?
Roaming around Osaka, Nara and Kyoto?

21 August to 28 August is 7 days exact, isn't it?

houming
houming

Hi,
First, please remember that the day you activate the pass for counts as Day One - which starts and ends at midnight. So if you activate it and use it at 6 PM, your first "day" is just 6 hours long. If you activated your pass on Aug 21st, the last day would be Aug 27th.
The Hankyu Tourist Pass is one good way to get around. There is also the Kansai Thru Pass, or if you want to see Himeji or more, the JR Kansai Area Pass or a JR Kansai Wide Area Pass. There is also a Kintetsu Rail Pass. It all depends on where you want to go!

Toraneko
Toraneko

Osaka 14-15 August
Nara 15-17 August
Kyoto 17-21 August

My gratitude for your information. Never been to Japan.
I want to see best of Japan and seems like i have time( 7 days) to visit Osaka, Nara and Kyoto.
All Pass can be use default on unconsecutive day? they never mention.

Below is my tabulation
Kansai Thu Pass used unconsecutive 3days 5,200yen
JR Kansai Area Pass
4day 6,300yen
JR Kansai Wide Area Pass 5day 8,500yen
Kintetsu Rail Pass
2day 2,000yen
Hankyu Tourist Pass *2day 1,200yen

houming
houming

Hi,
From their websites, the Kansai Thru Pass and Hankyu Tourist Pass are nonconsecutive. The Kintetsu Rail Pass and JR Passes are consecutive days. It is listed on the webpages, though buried within - for the JR Passes for example it's under "Availability and Use".
Three days might be more than enough to see Nara. The Todaiji Great Buddha and other places in Nara Park are the best. Don't miss the nice Isuien and Yoshikien Gardens. You also might want to take a day and see Kobe.

Toraneko
Toraneko

Is 7 days visiting Osaka, Nara and Kyoto too long?
I am flying into Osaka via Osaka International and flying out Osaka via Kansai International, Terminal 1,
thus i go back to Nara on 27-28 August. I think i should stay in Osaka instead

houming
houming

Actually, a month in Kansai it too short!

But I'd say that 2 days in Nara are enough, and 1 day and some evenings in Osaka are plenty. After the temples of Kyoto close down around 5PM, you can zip over to Osaka for the evening. At night the city comes alive and has some great places to see, such as Dotonbori, plus the night views from the Umeda Sky Bldg, and Abeno Harukas Bldg are wonderful.

In addition, there are other numerous great places you can visit in the area. Okayama is not far and it is famous for its castle, plus Korakuen, one of Japan's Top 3, and also the Handayama Garden. If you'd like to get off the beaten trail for a while, the half day hike up to Konpirasan in Kotohira is stunning. Going to Takamatsu is also nice - it has one of Japan's finest gardens also, called Ritsurin.
Hiroshima also has a number of good places. Miyajima is the most famous, and aside from Hiroshima itself, Onomichi with its temple tour and Kosanji Temple is spectacular. Just beyond Miyajima also lies Iwakuni with its historical bridge and castle on top of the mountain. Taikodani is also a beautiful shrine in Tsuwano, Shimane. Hagi Castle was actually delightful, and the preserved samurai district and Mori related temples a rarity. One of the very best is the Akiyoshi Limestone Cave, a 300 million year old wonder with huge caverns and underground river running through it.

If you can, try to find a little time to see the Japanese themselves. Go visit a Japanese supermarket and see what people typically eat. Nishiki Market is one place in Kyoto, but it's also overrun with the tourists - see the ordinary things as well and you will learn a lot. Look through a park and watch the Japanese kids play. Learn about the history of some of the places you visit before your departure - it will give your trip so much more meaning.

All in all, a lot more to explore and enjoy.

Toraneko
Toraneko

correct me if i am wrong
Hyperdia.com results shows:

Takayama to Himeji Y7340
Himeji to Hiroshima Y4430
Hiroshima to Osaka Y5620

                         Total       Y17390 lesser than JP pass 7day (Y29,110)
houming
houming

Hi,
You are not including the seat fee which is required as well. You need to count both the base fare with the seat fee to get the total. Also using a reserved seat is a freebee thrown in for the JR Pass, and costs extra if paying by cash, though it is not required to ride and shouldn't be included in calculating train fare to compare against the cost of the pass. So for the actual cash fares, they should be:

  1. Takayama to Himeji ¥11760
  2. Himeji to Hiroshima ¥ 7770
  3. Hiroshima to Osaka ¥ 9710

Total is ¥29,240 - plus, that is not including the round trip fare to go to Miyajima (which is extremely worth it) with ferry, and that would add another ¥1140, making the total ¥30,380. So you are just a bit above breaking even with a 7 day pass.

Toraneko
Toraneko

what is seat fee? without it, passenger is not allowed to board or sit :> ?
With JR pass, how to reserve the seat? If seat is not reserve, what is the worst case scenario?

houming
houming

The total fare is comprised of the base fare + the seat fee. Yes, you need to pay both. If you have a JR Pass and want to reserve a specific seat (like a window seat, for example), you can do it in any JR office before your train trip. If you don't, then you need to sit in the unreserved seat cars of the train. It is highly unlikely you will not be able to get a seat somewhere on the train, except when you are traveling during a peak season like the end/start of the year, or Golden Week (end of April through May 5th).

Toraneko
Toraneko

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